Word of the day

February 4, 2015

Metastasize –  to  spread or escalate in an undesirable manner;  (of malignant cells or disease-producing organisms) to spread to other parts of the body.


Chocolate matters

February 4, 2015

The world is a sweet place when a story about chocolate downsizing makes the news:

Cadbury Confectionery is reducing the size of its family block as the chocolate maker battles higher manufacturing costs.

But while the block would be reduced by 10% to avoid a price rise, the company’s owner said its Dunedin factory was going from strength to strength.

”We didn’t take this decision lightly,” said Jack Evison, the New Zealand head of Mondelez, the company that owns Cadbury.

”More of our manufacturing costs are going up than down. Other chocolate companies are also under pressure. Two are in significant trouble in Australia.

”We chose to reduce the size of the block rather than up the price so we can keep chocolate as an affordable treat. The quality and taste will remain the same.” . . .

Chocolate is one of my vices, albeit one I’ve learned to indulge in moderation.

A friend recommended a square or two of chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa after dinner as a way to satisfy cravings and I’ve found it works.

But in the quest for quality rather than quantity I discovered Lindt from Switzerland so that habit won’t be affected by the downsizing.

However, I use Cadbury chocolate to make a chocolate hazelnut Christmas tree and a smaller block will mess with the proportions in the recipe.


GDT index up 9.4%

February 4, 2015

The Global Dairy Price Index  increased by 9.4% in this morning’s auction.

gdt4.2.15

 

 

 

 

 

The price of wholemilk powder, which has the biggest influence on the milk payout, increased 19.2%.

gdt4.215

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That might not be enough to increase the payout but it will help prevent another drop in it.

gdt4215


Crude, simplistic, unsustainable

February 4, 2015

Federated Farmers says Local Government New Zealand’s discussion paper has highlighted the need to end reliance on the current property-value based rating system.

Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Katie Milne says continuing to set rates based on the value of a property is a crude and simplistic tool which is unsustainable.

“Farmers find themselves paying for services they don’t or can’t use.  In effect, the current rating system means farmers are subsidising people who live in towns,” Katie Milne says.

“Local government in many cases is suffering a decline in its population from which to draw rates.  This problem then gets passed onto farmers who find rates becoming an increasingly spiralling proportion of their farm costs.”

But Katie Milne says the discussion paper is timely in its pointing to more equitable and efficient rating systems.

“We like the attention given to expanding the existing revenue system, such as in user charges.  This is clearly a fairer and more flexible way of at least part funding local government activities.”

“There should also be a look at institutions which are rates exempt, yet which use council services.”

“Local bodies need to get a more robust way of deciding both their rating and spending.  The Long Term Plan process for councils helps, but is not the full answer.”

Katie Milne says there needs to be a close look at how central government imposes new rate burdens on local government.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world for a government to keep taxes down by shoving the cost down the chain to local councils.  But if they are going to do that then they need to help by paying for it out of income tax and GST income.”

Successive governments have imposed more costs on local government.

But there are many other factors which have led to rates increasing year after year at rates much higher than inflation.

The burden of that has spread more unevenly in rural areas where a property-value ratings system falls more heavily on farms.

However, I think councils unwillingness to rein in their spending is more of a problem than the rating system.


February 4 in history

February 4, 2015

211 Roman Emperor Septimius Severus died, leaving the Roman Empire in the hands of his two quarrelsome sons, Caracalla and Geta.

960 The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiating the Song Dynasty  period.

1677 Johann Ludwig Bach, German composer, was born  (d. 1731).

1703 In Edo (now Tokyo), 46 of the Forty-seven Ronin commited seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master’s death.

1789 George Washington was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.

1792 George Washington was unanimously elected to a second term as President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.

1794 The French legislature abolished slavery throughout all territories of the French Republic.

1810 The Royal Navy seized Guadeloupe.

1820 The Chilean Navy under the command of Lord Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald completed the 2 day long capture of Valdivia with just 300 men and 2 ships.

1825 The Ohio Legislature authorizes the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal.

1859 The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in Egypt.

1902 Charles Lindbergh, American pilot, was born (d. 1974).

1905 Hylda Baker, English comedy actress, was born (d. 1986).

1913 Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist was, born (d. 2005).

1915 – Ray Evans, American songwriter with Jay Livingston, was born.

1915 – Norman Wisdom, English actor and comedian, was born  (d. 2007).

1921 –  Betty Friedan, American feminist, was born  (d. 2006).

1921 – Lotfi Asker Zadeh, American-Iranian/Russian mathematician and computer scientist and the father of fuzzy logic., was born.

1936 Radium became the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.

1941 The United Service Organization (USO) was created to entertain American troops.

1941 – John Steel, British musician (The Animals), was born.

1945 World War II: The Yalta Conference began.

1947  Dan Quayle, 44th Vice President of the United States, was born.

1948 Alice Cooper, American musician, was born.

1948 Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka) became independent.

1952 – Dame Jenny Shipley, New Zealand’s first female Prime Minister, was born.

Jenny Shipley.jpg

1957 The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), logged its 60,000th nautical mile, matching the endurance of the fictional Nautilus described in Jules Verne‘s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”.

1966 All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 jet plunged into Tokyo Bay, killing 133.

1967  Lunar Orbiter 3 lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 13 on its mission to identify possible landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.

1969 Yasser Arafat took over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

1974 The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California.

1975 American Lynne Cox became the first woman to swim Cook Strait when she swam from the North Island to the South in a time of 12 hours 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

First woman to swim Cook Strait

1975 Haicheng earthquake (magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale) occurs in Haicheng, Liaoning, China.

1976 In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake killed more than 22,000.

1980 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini named Abolhassan Banisadr as president of Iran.

1985 The New Zealand Labour government refused the USS Buchanan entry to the country on the grounds that the United States would neither confirm nor deny that the ship had nuclear capability.

USS <em>Buchanan</em> refused entry to NZ

1992 A Coup d’état led by Hugo Chávez Frías, against Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez.

1996 Major snowstorm paralysed Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin tied all-time record low temperature at -26°F (-32.2°C)

1997 Two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collided in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.

1997 Serbian  President Slobodan Milošević recognised opposition victories in the November 1996 elections.

1998 An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in northeast Afghanistan killed more than 5,000.

1999 Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot dead by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an urelated stake-out, inflaming race-relations in the city.

1999 The New Carissa ran aground near Coos Bay, Oregon.

2003 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was officially renamed  Serbia and Montenegro and adopted a new constitution.

2004 Facebook, an online social network was founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

2006 A stampede occured in the ULTRA Stadium near Manila killing 71.

2008 – The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) scheme began to operate.

2010 – The Federal Court of Australia’s ruling in Roadshow Films v iiNet set a precedent that Internet service providers (ISPs) were not responsible for what their users do with the services the ISPs provide them.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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